Established in Michigan USA in 1897, Shakespeare has a long-standing tradition for quality fishing tackle and reasonable prices. In 2007 Shakespeare joined forces with Pure Fishing establishing the worlds largest fishing tackle company
With tackle for all disciplines including carp fishing, fly fishing and both boat and shore one of the most popular if not iconic products for Shakespeare worldwide is the Ugly Stik range of rods, first manufactured way back in 1976. A few years ago Shakespeare brought out a new generation of this successful series of rods, the Ugly Stik GX2. We have a number of these rods aboard My Way, again they are strong and reliable and continue the legacy left by the original Ugly Stik rods.
Standing alongside the Ugly Stik, Shakespeare has the Agility range, with a number of rods for both shore and boat fishing. We have been using the Agility 12/20 and Sea Tipster rods aboard My Way for 3 years now. They have stood the test of time extremely well considering their very reasonable price points.
For the vast majority of our boat fishing a 12 to 20lb class of rod covers almost everything a nice light rod with a supple tip offering some great bite detection.
They are equally at home at anchor in strong tides searching out all manner of species from whiting through to hard fighting hounds and tope. or drifting over wrecks working shads and eels for the likes of pollack and cod.
In Holyhead we have some strong tidal areas to fish, sometimes we can be fishing 4oz of lead inshore and others Holyhead Deep with 200ft of water and an initial 24oz of lead required to simply touch the bottom. The rods work perfectly well in either situation. Some anglers frown and question the ability of a light rod to handle such heavy weights at times, but I’m a firm believer it is the anglers misuse that snaps most rods.
Pulling hard into snags for example or lifting heavy fish and leads out of the water on the rod tip and not simply placing the rod against the rail and lifting the final bit by hand. With a little guidance in the correct use we’ve not had one of these rods snap thankfully and they’ve accounted for some quality fishing for our anglers including tope up to 50lb.
Local Rod Dave Craddock won a Shakespeare Agility rod and Penn Squall 15 reel during the Smoothhound Challenge of 2015. First trip out with his new set up landed this beautiful 40lb tope.
You feel every lunge of your fish with the 12/20 rods. Truthfully lead retrieval when using 24oz can be tiresome, especially from 200ft of water, however when partnered with a decent multiplier with a good retrieve the job is made easier. But this is always forgotten when big tope and double shots of spurdogs are fighting you all the way to the top.
We have used a variety of rods aboard My Way over the last 14 years from a number of different tackle companies, all with a varying degree of success. For the last 3 years we’ve been using the Agility boat range and I’ve not seen anything that would discourage from highly recommending these rods to anyone in the market for some new gear. We’ve replaced a few tip eyes over the years and also a few mid section eyes with lost or cracked inserts etc. All the faults attributed to the mass use these rods receive in the hands of relative novices – rods dropped on occasions or rigs wound into the tips. Nothing can be attributed to poor build, even all the real seats are still working perfectly.
With a price in the region of £40, I don’t think there is much better value for money on the market when you consider our rods have been used upwards of 15 times a month for the last 3 years.
Shakespeare now have the Agility 2 rods that are available in 20lb and 30lb class. Again a supple tip section for great bite detection, but with strength in the mid section locking up with a transfer of power to the butt allowing you to handle your catch with ease.
In addition to the Agility 2 boat rods the all new 8/12lb class boat rod. Ideal for seeking out all manner of species whilst drifting over sand banks and also wrecks
We also carry the 9ft Shakespeare Agility Sea Tipster rods for much of our light drifting or anchor work and in particular smoothhound fishing. These 3 equal section rods come in 9ft, 11ft and 14ft sizes and are equally useful on the shore as they are afloat.
All rods have an extra sensitive tip for some great bite detection, but also have the strength and ability to tame hard fighting small sharks. We are fortunate enough to land many big double figure hounds aboard My Way including a good number of 20lb+ that have been tamed using the Agility Tipseter rods.
The Agility Tipsters have Zirconium Oxide Guides and an Aluminium reel seat and similar to the Agility Boat rods have yet to let me down aboard My Way. We used them regularly for our fishing together with Penn Spinfisher SSV5500 fixed spool reels.
PF Consultant Mike Thrussell uses the 11ft version often and was fishing aboard My Way earlier this year using his Agility Tipster. While drifting in only 28ft of water behind the imposing Holyhead Breakwater. He managed to land this lovely conditioned pollack of10lb 10oz after a great spirited fight on the light set up.
2 of the half dozen rods aboard My Way do however lack the top 1” of tip section, where over zealous retrieval in the hands of inexperienced has resulted in a snap. Strong and reliable rods they are, but the supple and extremely sensitive tips need to be looked after to avoid accidental damage.
The 11 and 14ft rods are ideal for shore anglers and also boat anglers, in particular match anglers that are looking to search around the sea bed to locate pockets of smaller fish to add to their tally.
Great rods at unbelievably great prices.